After a car accident, the first question that comes into your mind is this: How much will I get as compensation? You may sustain injuries due to the incident that required you to avail of medical services and treatment. Your car may be seriously damaged, requiring inspection by a qualified mechanic to determine the cost of repair or replacement for dents and scratches. Who will be held liable for these results, and how much shall you receive as compensation?
If you are a car accident victim, you may receive different offers to compensate you for all the losses you incurred. You call these offers settlement offers. Many people may advise you whether a particular settlement offer is reasonable. A family member or friend involved in a previous car accident may give their opinion on the matter.
While it is true that other people can provide insights into what a reasonable settlement offer looks like, their statement may only apply to your case if the facts are similar. Your situation may differ entirely from theirs, so you cannot rely solely on the information or experience shared by others on this matter.
The Complexity of Finding Out What a Reasonable Settlement Offer Is
Finding out what a good settlement offer looks like is more complicated than you think. It would help if you considered many factors. You have to compute how much you incurred as a loss because of the accident. The medical expenses are relatively easy to calculate since your doctor or surgeon may abruptly inform you of the total or estimated costs for medical treatment. A seasoned mechanic may also assess the actual value of the loss you experienced because of the damage to your property.
Unfortunately, some of these factors are difficult to quantify. For example, how do you compute your actual loss of income because the accident resulted in your total or partial disability? How do you put an amount equivalent to the anxiety or emotional anguish you experienced because of the trauma? These instances are difficult to quantify, so if you think about it, you will even have more difficulty assessing how much compensation you deserve.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
A car accident lawyer in Houston, Texas, will help you determine a reasonable settlement offer. They will help you determine whether a specific request is acceptable or if you need to do something else to receive better compensation. Sometimes, you may get pressured to accept settlement offers by insurance companies because you want to receive money immediately. You only think short term. After a traumatic car accident, all you want is the money so that you will take care of all your medical expenses and you may immediately repair your vehicle. However, the danger of accepting settlement offers without deep thought is that lucrative offers that seem good at the surface may lure you.
You may need to remember that there are also other expenses that you may incur that may or may not have been included as part of the settlement offer. Thus, how do you know if the offer is good enough? Do you need to renegotiate the terms and conditions of the settlement? Can you receive higher pay when you file the case in court? Only an experienced car accident lawyer in Houston will give you the answers that you need. It would be best if you talked to a car accident lawyer in Houston, Texas, to guide you on when to say yes, no, or renegotiate with the insurance company.
A Settlement Offer Depends on the Amount of Loss
A settlement offer after a car accident may vary from one to another. An insurance company considers several factors to tailor to the actual needs of the victim. For example, suppose you are earning above minimum wage. In that case, the amount equivalent to compensate you for the loss of income for a certain period must also be computed higher than the minimum wage. Suppose you are a celebrity or model whose face was deformed because of an accident. In that case, the loss you incurred there shall also be incurred according to its proper value, considering that your beauty is essential as a celebrity or model.
Suppose your medical expenses are not limited to several days because you need to do aftercare for better treatment. In that case, you shall determine the period you are presumed to spend on medical expenses. The insurance company considers and weighs your status, profession, age, and many other factors so that you may obtain a reasonable settlement. Thus, a car accident lawyer and personal injury lawyer will give you a better understanding of your situation. Considering all of these factors mentioned above will let you think twice or thrice when a settlement is offered to you after an accident.
Submit a Request for Compensation to the Insurance Company
The insurance company of the driver who is liable to you will shoulder the damages you sustained because of the incident. However, payment is not automatic. As a first step, you must submit a compensation request to the insurance company. The request shall pray for everything that you need to be compensated. If something is not included in the request, then the insurance company will not grant that on its own.
The general rule is that the insurance company will only pay for what you request them to pay, subject to the outcome of the negotiation. It would be best if you had a car accident or a personal injury lawyer. The lawyer will be the one to list down all the losses which need to be compensated in bullet form. After this step, each loss will have a corresponding amount as compensation. The lawyer will then compute the total amount. In this way, you will remember to include everything that is important. If you miss something, the danger is that your right to demand compensation for that may be barred by laches or even your negligence.
The Insurance Company will Study Your Request for Compensation
After you successfully submit your request for compensation, the insurance company will study the nitty-gritty of everything you included in your request. They will find out one by one whether particular items need to be compensated and if the amount you indicated is proportional to the damage you sustained. More likely, in the column where you suggested an amount for a particular loss, the insurance company will also indicate a value based on their assessment. Their value is usually lower than the price that you suggested. The insurance company may also omit some items. An insurance adjuster is the one who does this task. An insurance adjuster makes his findings of the situation and determines the appropriateness of the request. After the insurance company finishes studying your request and choosing its calculated amount as compensation for your losses, it will issue a settlement offer.
Do Not Get Fooled into Accepting an Initial Settlement Offer Immediately
In many instances, the insurance company has different offers. They will only release the lowest of these offers to you, which they label the initial offer. An initial offer is the first one an insurance company will give you. Refrain from interpreting this as the only amount the insurance company will provide you. As the term suggests, an initial offer is only to begin the negotiation process. They will give you the least amount because they know you will bargain for a higher fee. Suppose you have yet to secure legal assistance. In that case, you may fall prey to this common practice of insurance companies to provide the least possible offer at the commencement of the bargaining process. The purpose here is obvious. If ever you reject their initial offer and you issue a counteroffer, they shall have a buffer that serves as available funds to meet your expectations. Their settlement offer usually consists of three levels: an initial offer, a response to your counteroffer, and a final offer.
As previously mentioned, an initial offer has the lowest possible compensation for all the losses you have incurred.
When you issue a counteroffer, the insurance company accepts or denies it. Usually, what they will do is they will give another proposal that will respond to your counteroffer.
When their counteroffer is acceptable to you, the bargaining ends. However, if their counteroffer is still unacceptable, you will issue another counteroffer.
When you submit your second counteroffer, the insurance company will seriously study your demands and present to you their final offer. This last offer is the best possible settlement that you can get.
Lawyers at O’Hara Law Firm Will Help You Receive a Reasonable Settlement
The main goal in negotiating with the insurance company after a car accident in Texas is to receive the best settlement for your needs. Lawyers at O’Hara Law Firm will help you with this. All you have to do is make the call and find a car accident lawyer with whom you can talk. You shall be able to narrate what happened in the car accident in Texas, and the lawyer will help you gather evidence and identify other things you need so that you will be compensated.